The Organisation of American States yesterday contributed US$25,000 towards recovery efforts in Jamaica, after Hurricane Ivan killed 17 persons and left significant material damage recently.This contribution, derived from the OAS’ Inter-American Emergency Aid Fund (FONDEM), may be small but “has behind it the will of the member states” to boost natural disaster mitigation initiatives, Assistant Secretary General Luigi Einaudi told Jamaica’s Permanent Representative, Ambassador Gordon Shirley.
Einaudi lauded the resilience of Jamaicans amid the hurricane’s significant human and material toll, and underscored the OAS’ commitment to cooperation and to speaking out “as conscience” on the need to mitigate natural disaster impact. “There has been an effort by the inter-American system to respond,” he declared, noting Secretary General Miguel çngel Rodr’guez has convened a meeting for today to discuss with the heads of various inter-American agencies strategies to better respond to hurricanes and other natural disasters in the Caribbean.
Meanwhile, Executive Director of the Pan American Development Foundation John Sanbraillo spoke about current PADF disaster relief efforts in Jamaica, reporting that emergency packages, including tents, blankets and other relief supplies, had already been delivered to Jamaica, compliments of the Chevron-Texaco Company.
Ambassador Shirley thanked the OAS for its longstanding tradition of assisting Jamaica with disaster relief. He remarked that, “This little setback, while important, won’t deter us from the forward momentum.”
The Jamaican envoy also called for a more coordinated strategy to help Caribbean countries tackle these inevitable yearly natural disasters. He urged the OAS to continue to work with the affected Caribbean countries “to find a more effective response mechanism and a more effective way of mitigating the damage in the countries of the region.” He said CARICOM countries stand ready to participate in such initiatives that would greatly benefit the region.